Archive for the ‘Rives BFK Arches Printmaking paper’ Category

mushroomfairy

I spent most of yesterday morning playing with dendritic monoprinting on pieces of blank or previously painted Rives BFK® printmaking paper. Remember I am doing a Daily Art project and I have an hour to get it all done (or as done as it’s going to get). Even though the paper here was pre-painted, I was still pushed by the clock to get it finished.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I particularly enjoy expressive art practice. I don’t draw well enough to plan and execute a design. Somehow when I start with a rough random pattern I do much better. If you can imagine the image before I outlined and worked into it you might see that there were three pieces of dentritic printing on the page. (The dendritic patterns are the indigo fern-ish marks). The first is the large focal point that I turned into a mushroom. It really did look mushroom-like from the get go. The second painted shape was the small circle at bottom left, and at top middle there was an oblong shape. Then there was the predominant rainbow striping to deal with. Before I worked into it, it was a hodge-podge-lodge of dramatic patterns. I actually despaired of it, thinking it was a hard challenge under any circumstances. But I persevered and started on the mushroom and it went pretty well. The I thought the smaller circle could be a less mature sprout; some mushrooms have that puff ball look when they are babies. I duplicated the colors except to make the yellow bolder with a tad of orange.

Now, I have two finished mushrooms on a striped rainbow with an obnoxious small oblong shape. It had all these little dentrites on the edges and the inside was empty. I decided to try a face shape around it and that meant I had to try and match a drawn eye to the painted one (or produce a Cyclops. EEEWW). This always fills me with horror; matching eyes is always problematic.  I am great with ONE eye (well, great might be an overstatement).  One looks good, and the other one that should match gets lumpy or squinty or looks like the subject is giving the Stink Eye. I braved through it with a colored pencil and actually got a pretty good match, if I do say so myself. And I just did. The nose and mouth weren’t much of anything to do, and I figured we’d carry that dentritic pattern up to the hair; looks like a root crown to me. Unless this is a self-portrait of me getting down on my belly to see a mushroom (and that does happen pretty frequently; there are photos involved to prove it) I figured she to be a fairy and gave her dragonfly wings or a reasonable facsimile of them. With all the detail and red up top, the bottom needed some red for balance so I did little tulips and added green and ochre around the base of the mushrooms to ground them. I then ran out of time.

I don’t know if I would have done more given the time. I very much like this piece. It was a challenge and I did some drawing which is always a good thing. I resist drawing most of the time but this was the perfect situation to do some expressive work. I do think the mushroom and face compete because of the details and size. Generally we conceive of fairies SITTING on a mushroom, not looming over them like Godzilla. But who are we to know what a nature spirit looks like? She looks benevolent enough, if a little pensive, as if she has a big “To Do” list today. Definitely not giving the dreaded Stink Eye.

You probably want to know how I came to do dendritic painting, or what it is. I don’t know what got me there, but I watched Shannon Green on YouTube University demonstrating it. She got it from somebody else which is how we all learn. Basically, it involves two pieces of strong glass, acrylic paint, pressure and lift, then two prints. You can sometimes get two prints off each plate, but the second prints are not great. Good for scrap paper, though.

I have way too much scrapbook paper for someone who doesn’t scrapbook. I probably have way too much scrapbook paper for someone who DOES scrapbook. And to be honest, I don’t know why I do because I have no interest in it. I think most of it was just there, like Mount Everest. I decided the dentritic monoprinting was going to feel very good on all that scrapbook paper. And it does. I made good use of it in today’s Daily project, but that is for later to show.

If you have a bunch of paper you want to make more attractive, get yourself the supplies I listed above and watch Shannon’s video. It’s easy, inexpensive and fun. No two patterns are the same. If you don’t like glass, or have kids involved, try it on sheet protectors or transparencies, or maybe use cut acrylic sheet. It is the stucked-ness and air bubbles and release of pressure (suction) that makes the dendrites.  I plan on trying transparencies because I hate glass and sharp stuff like grim death.

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styro1-13-16

The carved styrofoam plate on left, my selected print on the right.

My Here’s my Daily Art practice for today. As one of my legions of fans, you are well  acquainted with my love of styrofoam printing, even though it is certainly among my top two on the list of Unpredictable Techniques I practice. Ink blotting is the first, if you are interested and I know you are. A pattern appears to be presenting itself; I am thrilled with the surprise and frustration of uncertainty. The surprise rather more than the uncertainty, but one has to take the chalk with the cheese.

So, I return to styrofoam printing after a long absence. And, of course, I’ve forgotten everything I knew about it. Seriously. Besides which, there has been one most Unfortunate Incident–I developed an allergy to, or at least a big physical aversion to tempera paint. This was a blow to me. I had developed quite a passion for, love of, and dependence on tempera paint for numerous techniques. I used it instead of gesso. I used it to do expressive finger painting. I used it to create paint blots (those were gorgeous). I used it to print styrofoam plates. It is quick drying, one of the most reasonably priced art materials and widely available.

After investing a goodly sum on tempera paints for a venture different from standard art making (preparing papers for my Interactive Intuitive Readings), and using them for about six months, I happened to leave town for a couple weeks and came back to my studio to notice a nauseating smell. And suddenly I had headaches and sinus problems. Bob did not smell the smell. Even the papers I had previously prepared became unusable. When opening the bottles I was literally assaulted by the stench and this was heartbreaking. I did some online research and there was a small mention of tempera turning moldy and developing odor, but I opened bottles and poured and I couldn’t see anything at all.

Not only had I spent money on the paint I couldn’t use, I had to scramble to find a media to replace it. That took a lot of effort and ended up costing me another goodly sum for Dr.Ph.Martins® Bombay India inks–which are beautiful and Dr. Martin has been making them since 1934, apparently with liquid gold if the price is any indication of the ingredients. But I digress.

I was thrown back into using gesso or acrylic paint for backgrounds. I stopped doing finger painting; I just don’t enjoy it with acrylic paint. Plus it is shiny and one thing I loved about tempera is its matte finish. (There is a good bit of raving about the wonders of tempera elsewhere on this blog.)

So, I took a break from styrofoam printing, except for a fling using ink pads. I either decided dye pads or pigment pads were the best and I can’t remember which it was. That’s a problem because mostly all ink pads are either dye or pigment ink. This is one problem with advancing age or being an artist. Or maybe both. I don’t make notes, or I do make notes and samples and then can’t find them.

Beginning ANEW today, and working with what I have, I cut a styrofoam plate to a good size to print on my 5×7 paper. I brought a stack of that Allstate found paper I spoke about recently to use as scrap practice printings. First, I used a pigment ink pad and that didn’t work one little bit. Feeling encouraged, I used a dye ink pad and that didn’t work either. Feeling desperate, I reached for my Staz-on® ink pad and, of course, that worked best, but not good enough. Just a note, there really isn’t any reason to have any ink pads except Staz-on®.

I next put a blob of black gesso on a piece of wax paper and spread it with a credit card. This is the same technique I used with tempera, back in the Good Old Days. I put the plate on and applied moderate pressure. The print was without definition. I took some paint off the wax paper and pressed the stamp again. Still too much paint. Took almost all the paint off and came up with the print I settled on. At some point I also scraped paint directly on the styrofoam, but that didn’t work, too much paint. Each time between experiment prints I had to wash the paint off the stamp. Luckily, this is quick and easy with styrofoam. Just blot the water off and have another run at it.

Luckily, I was truly happy with the print I got. Clock is ticking friends. I had just enough time to heat gun it dry, wipe the back with gel medium and mount it on my Rives BFK® printmaking paper. This print looks to me like a dark night, a window through which we are seeing the ghostly outline of a tree. Perhaps you see it differently and that is ok by me. Also, I show you the plate.  The plates can be used as elements on their own.

Here’s a picture of the “waste” prints. They are going into my journal. The print shown in landscape orientation has shapes that I will probably work back into to make a separate Daily Art. printpractices

Nothing goes to waste playing with styrofoam printing. If you have a a junk book to alter print into that for instant backgrounds. If you have junk mail or envies print on them. Sometimes an unsuccessful print is amazing. Actually, the print I loved has no relationship back to the plate. I was trying for the decorative border, not the interior of the plate.

Here’s the thing about styrofoam. It is slick as owl shit. Paint doesn’t really want to stick to it. I am facing the ugly fact that I am going to be pressured into pulling out a glass surface, a brayer and some printmaking ink and give that a go. I do not want to do this, that is why I have never done it. It’s too darn much effort and too darn much clean up. It just takes all the fun out of it and who knows if it will work, anyway?

P.S. After I boxed up some of my tempera papers and they sat for a while, Bob opened the box and nearly lost his lunch. Vindicated, but I still miss my dear ole temperas.

 

story

Ok, this piece sure as Sam Hill doesn’t know what to be when it grows up.

It started Innocently Enough, as these things often do. I painted the paper with watercolor, dried it. Squiggled over the top with Sharpie™ fine line black pen. Then I stenciled (of course) with the alphabet set I’ve been bragging about for several months. The one that came from the  Dollar Tree. This set, as you can see, is not a “ransom note” style, but the letters fall into a few distinct styles. The simpler block style as you see in the “Stor” and the simpler, larger more cursive style as in the “Y”. Because I did not view the letters beforehand, the Y dips dangerously close to the bottom of the paper. After I penciled the letters in, I used my Stabilio® All Water Soluble pencils and wet it with my fingertips.

I cannot even describe to you what a hot mess this was. All those squiggles behind the letters were confusing; my eyeballs were jittering in their sockets. I thought about ways I know to make layers recede and pop forward. There were so many lines as compared to the amount of letters I decided that the lines needed to be subordinate. I embark upon a Doodling Journey. The important part of the process was not to doodle OVER the letters, but under and around them. This makes the letters appear to be the topmost layer. Developing some continuity in the pattern helped as well (following the thickness and “trail” of a pair of lines).

Early on I saw the “creature” represented by the spikes, a lizard/aardvark cross that I colored green and outlined a bit. It has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the piece except, perhaps, confuse it and lend a tad of narrative. Is it the story of the creature? Or did the creature haplessly wander into The Story and couldn’t escape? Probably, there was a lot of that going around.

In some ways the image is successful but ultimately unsatisfactory. While the squiggles did help unify the image, they are still too much of a distraction. So is the green creature. But I wanted to use my Stabilo® All pencils and that alphabet stencil package, and I felt like doodling so it was satisfactory in that respect and that is the purpose of making art, right?

bwstencilgirl1-11-16Hi! We’re back to Monday it appears. I am now behind showing you two pieces of the Daily Art Challenge. The first one was still wet when I had the chance to blog, and the second one was lucky to get done at all. I’ve had a series of home services around here necessitating workers in the house and prep to have them in. Today an expected half hour job turned into 2 hours of pet management (or wrangling)?

I wanted to laser print one of my photos onto the Rives BFK® Printmaking paper and experiment with various watercolor media I pulled out yesterday. I vaguely thought of something moderately detailed that could use a range of colors, sort of like a coloring book page. As usual the huge archive of photos I have, most of which suck for numerous reasons, took me forever to look through. The clock, people. One jumped out at me. It is a photo of a painting I did in 2008 that appears in a separate blog entry. I had cropped just the uppermost of the painting and altered it with Stencil filter. Like I need another stencil image. Of course, it wasn’t suitable at all for what I had intended to do, but I decided to give it a go. It’s been so darn long since I’ve done any alternative sized paper printing that I couldn’t get the image to print properly. All I could get to was one side of the pix on the edge of the page. I messed with that for too long (clock, people) and had the brainstorm, or braincramp (which fits better) to create a reverse of the side that did print. Like a harlequin outfit.

I was stuck on using the water media idea. I thoughtfully prepared a sample palette of all my Derwent® and Prismacolor® watercolor pencils and my Caran d’Ache® watercolor crayons last evening. The Prismacolor® pencil set seemed to have the darkest black in my collection but it wasn’t black enough. No matter what white media I tried it would not get truly white over the black. Suffice it to say that I went through a series of gyrations that are too troubling to detail here. I’m glad it’s over. Clock, people (works both ways).

If you recall, the rules of the Daily Art Challenge are that the image has to be finished (or quit) in one hour and it has to be 5×7 with a paper foundation. My time machine is broken, but if it wasn’t, I’d start again and make a Photoshop® digital image. Crop the one I started with in half. Apply  “Invert Color” to it, save it. Open a blank document, move the b/w copy up to the w/b copy, save as a new file, print it on 5×7. Then I’d doodle or stencil or something over the top of that. Much easier to work with paint/marker on top of the laser toner as opposed to black paint. It would have been more creative, less frustrating and better looking by far. Of course, I still haven’t solved the inability to print it correctly, that is for Bob or another day.

I did not know about David Bowie’s illness and was sorry to hear of his death today. I’ve enjoyed his music for decades–he was an amazing multimedia creative talent. One of my favorite songs is his “Putting Out Fire,” the theme from the movie Cat People.

milton station whenHere’s my Daily Art piece. I began with the found photo and you can find out more about why I chose it at my Mythos blog.

I scanned the original photo and adjusted the contrast a bit. Evidently the day it was taken the weather was overcast. Old black and white photos tend to be very low contrast. I wasn’t sure it would even scan well, but it did. My first step was to laser print the photo.

The linear quality of the telephone poles attracted me, as well as the handwritten notations. I have used stenciled telephone poles before in a piece called Camera Shy. I painted the Rives BFK® printmaking paper with Golden® Acrylic Micaceous Iron Oxide. This paint is worth getting if you are a fan of grey. It includes specular hematite ore and has a warm grey color, slightly shimmery. It doesn’t look like any other paint and it’s a big favorite of mine. It is expensive, as all good things are. I watered down the acrylic and it was still too opaque, so I kept washing it. The paper got really wet. This is not watercolor paper and I pushed it close to it’s limit…but it is good paper, just took a while to dry. This was ok since I got into a confunction with my printers and I had to alter that photo, but the clock was ticking on this one.

By the time I got the print out, the acrylic was dry and I took the telephone pole stencil and applied black acrylic paint. That has a short drying time. I adhered the photo copy down. The piece wasn’t finished and I wasn’t sure what it needed. Then I remembered the quote by Edmund White that I read this morning over coffee. “When a person dies, a library is burned.” I liked it so much I jotted it into my journal so that I would have it. I thought, this old photo has endured past the photographer’s own burned library…his story carried beyond his life. With the extra telephone poles, I had indicated further communication. That led to me handwriting the words “communicate-tell your story.” The photographer told his story, I found his photo and told my story through this art and in the writing of my other blog post. I hope you will go there. If you like art journaling, journaling, photography or using found photos, I think you will enjoy that post. I hope, at least, that you enjoy this art.

stencil overlayHi there. Lest you think I have turned into a Big Cheater, I haven’t. My Daily Art is drying. In the meantime I decided to show you this.

I was minding my own business after having applied light modeling paste to a piece of Rives BFK® printmaking paper. The experiment today was to use the modeling paste on a paper that could handle watercolor paint. Now, I’ve used spackling paste in the past to swipe over stencils to create texture. I have the light modeling paste which is better. It’s smoother and lighter and easier to spread, but it is also much more expensive. And I mean that from the bottom of my wallet.

I picked this fern stencil because I seriously love ferns. Ferns, to me, are the primary representation of endurance and survival of the fit. The fern family are some of the oldest life on this planet. It’s just science. Plus, there is the marvelous unfurling of the frond. Much is made of the rosebud opening to blossom, but what about those tightfisted fern buds?

When I applied the paste, I noticed some ink began to color the paste as I swiped. This was The Accidental Stencilists first Fortunate Event. It was fortunate because the color was very fern-y. Obviously, my lack of housekeeping the last time I used the stencil was paying off today. By the way, had I wanted to color the paste before coloring the background, I could have left the stencil in place, waited for the paste to dry, then spread acrylic over it or sprayed it with ink.

The modeling paste dries fast (so does spackling paste). Now for the next step. I wanted to use watercolors today. I have a bunch of tiny tubes of Cotman Water Colours® that I bought at a thrift for next to nothing. The good thing is that watercolor paint, even if it dries in the tube, is usable. You’ll have to destroy the tube to get at the paint, but it is doable. I’ve done it. Anyway, I put out Indian Red, Rose Madder, Sap Green and Cerulean Blue and went to it. I used a tiny brush to get into the fine fern branches and a medium sized brush to wash over the background. I am not happy with the background application of this piece. It is not as muted as I wanted. I tried to lift some paint but I didn’t have time. As the clock ran down, my final action was to throw some salt and dry rice on the page, which, hopefully, will diffuse the hard lines between colors.

I am not a proficient watercolor user. My love for it does not indicate any skill. For me, watercolor is a hard way to get good results; it  demands learning techniques and practice. Strangely, I am better with inks which are just as difficult but more predictable with spreading and blending. The ink is the same amount of wet, whereas, watercolor is different amounts of wet on any given brushstroke. There is likely a better descriptive word for this, but I don’t know it.

The Accidental Stencilist struck again by having a messy work island. A collaged canvas board has been loitering on my desktop for too long a time. I don’t know where to put it. As I was moving through the Daily piece, I cleaned the stencil and laid it on top of this other art. I glanced up and for a minute I didn’t know what I was looking at. In fact, I thought it might have been the wrapper for the stencil (as if it would still be in it’s original wrapper, silly girl!). It took a second for me to realize that I was seeing the other art beneath the stencil. It was real purdy. While I’ve talked about putting stencils over found papers, it never occurred to me to put it over my own art.This particular stencil would involve some severe fussy cutting, but other stencils wouldn’t. Just experiment laying stencils over your previous art, then lay them on the copy machine and voila! a custom collage element.

I thought the two accidents would be of more use to you than showing the Daily art today. I’ll forget the Accidents if I don’t share them now. I’ll show today’s art tomorrow–a twofer!

da1-5-16The Daily Art Challenge police would have no trouble spotting the crime here–1/4/16?? It’s 1-5-16–busted! Yes, after signing this today (in permanent Sharpie™ of course) I realized the correct date.

But, moving on to this odd fellow. The lettering is a stencil alphabet that I traced onto transparency in 8.5×11 size. Then I cut a light colored scrapbook paper to 8.5×11 size and copied the alphabet by running the paper through the printer tray. That way, instead of having to buy stickers or stamps, I can print any of my alphabet stencils into any paper. So, if you are following along with my Make Do Initiative, and I know you are, this is a creative way to make your supplies and tools more versatile and also you have stuff that nobody else has with no further financial investment. How cool is that?

For sure you remember the Dollar Tree stencil sets I’ve been bragging about. The big leaf gnome body is a stencil from the Sea Life set, cut out from an old map. The legs, arms and hat are cut from a botanical print. The tree and acorn were sketched in with a Stabilo-All®  Water Soluble Pencil (brown) and wet very delicately and smeared, which is where this pencil excels. I outlined the gnome and letters with Prismacolor® pencils. The face is from a stencil of four different cherubs.

I thought I was using Rives BFK Arches printmaking paper. During making, the paper was behaving UnBFK-ly; it was buckling. I held the paper to the light and discovered it had an Allstate watermark–it is half-sized paper I found at an estate sale and bought for it’s cotton rag content. This paper is not suitable as a collage foundation. Not sure how, but this piece was in with my pre-cut BFK supply. A tip and reminder: any foundation you use for collage has to be heavier than the paper you are applying.

I may have taken longer than an hour. It’s been a weird unpredictable day. Several business matters needed to be done during normal studio time. An installer is coming to put in some equipment. There’s been unusual unavoidable interruptions. My work was intermittent and I forgot the timer. The dog ate my homework.